“Look at these cute swimmers!” I said, excitedly showing my friend the travel mug I’d just purchased. We were on a trip to Michigan, and I’d found a charming ceramic travel mug featuring stylized swimmers of all colors, shapes, and sizes, all enjoying the water and sun. It was so beautiful to me, this depiction of a world of diversity and play and warmth. The clouds drenched our car with cold rain as we drove back to the Chicago suburbs, so the thought of a warm day at the beach was even more welcome than usual.
When I got married in 2007, I registered for place settings of blue and off-white with matching mugs. I remember proclaiming to my husband that I wanted a cabinet full of matching mugs because I thought it looked classier than a cabinet full of mismatched mugs with their differing sizes and patterns and colors. I wanted my cabinet to look like a magazine shoot, all perfectly matched and organized.
But this past year I packed those matching mugs away. They weren’t being used, and they were taking up precious cabinet space. I’ve found that each day when I drink my coffee and tea, I reach for a different colorful, patterned mug that has something I need. My favorite mug lately has been a narrower mug with a gorgeous hand-painted "A" surrounded by intricate flowers and vines of every color of the rainbow. The vines wind through the hole the handle makes to the back of the mug. During these cold, gray days of winter, I need that touch of beauty and color as I sip by beverage.
Memories and Meaning
Other days I love how my gray Perch mug fills me with serenity with its soft color and all the memories of that first year being in business. It feels so precious to me. My green camp-inspired Perch mug makes me feel warm and cozy before I even lift it to my lips! Just the sight of it makes me feel right at home.
When I’m ready to be productive, I might use my glass mug that says, “Smart women thirst for knowledge.” It’s a good, punny reminder to get my day going. Or I might use my giant mug with a typewriter on the front that gets my creative juices going. There’s also the one from my sister with gold embellishments when I want to take tea time up a notch. Or, I love using the hand-thrown bicycle mug I got on a vacation to Key West where we rode bikes around all week rather than drive—to this day one of my very favorite vacations. Drinking from this mug instantly transports me back to drinking rum punch on Southernmost Beach.
You see, choosing one of these mugs gives me a little jolt of something I need—whether comfort or inspiration or drive or beauty. They help make my morning coffee routine extra special simply by what they represent. I love how God speaks to me through the memories each mug holds, and I love how they make me pause to take in the moment. I like to say that the best soul care practices are those that fit into our normal routines and rhythms, and our coffee time each morning can absolutely be a soul care practice if we’re intentional.
So if you’re looking for a quick way to bring extra meaning and stillness to your coffee routine, I recommend getting picky about your mug. Choose that summery one to get you through the cold days of February. Fill that beloved mug to get you through that tough meeting at work. Sip from the mug your uncle gave you as you remember him. And if you don’t have a mug you love, let yourself browse the mugs the next time you’re on vacation, or at Target, or on our site. May your mug help you pause and set your intention for the day as you savor the present moment.
Amy Jackson is the founder and director of The Perch.